Age-appropriate websites promote sound financial habits
When it comes to financial literacy, the economic collapse and stagnant recovery have been teachable moments for adults who wish to instill in their children financial responsibility.
“The money talk” can be daunting for some adults who perhaps themselves never had it with their own parents or who never learned about personal finance in school. All 50 states include economics in their state standards, but less than half require a high school course in economics be taken, according to the 2011 Survey of the States, a biennial report released by the Council on Economic Education. For example, 14 states require a high school course in personal finance, one fewer than in 2009.
But there is help online for parents, caregivers and young adults who want to promote positive financial attitudes and sound habits. It’s never too early or too late to find your financial footing. Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 websites that encourage fiscal fitness:
Bizkids is a peer-to-peer website based on the Emmy Award-winning public television series that presents an entertaining and educational mash-up of comic sketches, animation, and segments based on the experiences of real-life entrepreneurs. The website features video clips, links to relevant articles (“Taylor Swift will not be going bankrupt”), and games.
The Centsables are bank employees as well as financial literacy superheroes. This website features games, activities, onscreen comic books, a glossary, and lessons (“The 411 on Money,” “How Kids Earn Money”) that introduce basic financial concepts.
FamZoo and FamilyMint are two examples of virtual automated family banks that track allowances and spending and saving activity. Sign-up is free
Financial Football Visa and the NFL teamed up for this online game in which players gain or lose yardage based on answers to age appropriate money questions, Kids will also get a kick out of Financial Soccer.
For You, For Me, For Later, a partnership between PNC Bank and Sesame Street, gives parents and caregivers tools to help children take their first steps to “spending, sharing and saving.” The site contains videos featuring Elmo and other popular Sesame Street characters in vignettes that encourage positive choices regarding money.
Disney’s The Great Piggy Bank Adventure is an online board game in which players set a personal financial goal, learn about different strategies to achieve it, but face challenges along the way that could detour them from their plain. The game is complete when the personal goal is reached.
Hands On Banking was created by Wells Fargo Bank to nurture “money skills you need for life.” There are age-appropriate sections for kids, teens and young adults. In the kids section, animated extra-terrestrial characters Zing and sidekick Zoey visit Earth for a series of interactive encounters that illustrate concepts such as budgeting, saving, credit.
Money Savvy Generation teaches money management basics to elementary school-aged children. Its signature product is the “Money Saving Pig,” a clear piggy bank with four slots that encourage children to allocate their allowance to save, spend, donate and invest chambers. The website also contains a download for the award-winning app, Saving Spree, which demonstrates how the daily choices children make with their money can add up to savings or expenses.
Recommended for grades 1-6, ING’s Planet Orange unfolds across four virtual continents to teach players about earning, spending, saving and investing. Sadly, this site has now been taken down. For more information, check out http://wethesavers.com/heres-an-update-on-planet-orange-and-orangekids-com/
The Hartford’s Playbook for Life was designed for college students as “aprimer on credit, savings, investments, and insurance” to promote personal financial planning for the real world.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.